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review 2019-10-18 20:09
Quick Thoughts: Dreamer's Pool
Dreamer's Pool - Juliet Marillier

Dreamer's Pool

by Juliet Marillier
Book 1 of Blackthorn & Grim

 

 

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear.  Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada.  There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais.  He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love.  But Oran discovers letters can lie.  For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma.  Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help.  To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.



Dreamer's Pool, to be honest, while written well with Juliet Marillier's style of magic and lore, also sort of tended towards the predictable.  It's a usual plot device of Marillier's to give away the plot twist from one of the tales or stories told throughout the book.  And so it wasn't hard to figure out how everything would turn out in the end.

As has been quite typical of Marillier as well, this first book in the Blackthorn & Grim trilogy involved a lot of world building and set-up.  A lot of traveling happened, and I'm not entirely sure that things started picking up until about halfway through the book.  At least, for me, I didn't start getting really interested until halfway through the book.

So while I enjoyed the book, I still had a hard time with it, not only because of the slowness of the plotting, but also because of how hard it was to really relate with any of the characters.  Blackthorn tended towards more bitter than I felt like she needed to be, and I found I liked her more when she wasn't constantly thinking about how she could betray the new chance at life that Conmael gave her by going back to her need for revenge.  I didn't mind her being a cranky old wise woman (who was hardly old by biological age standards), and I liked her role as the local wise woman.

I'm much like Blackthorn in that I hate being crowded and I like my privacy.  But I think that, as much as Blackthorn and Grim seem to understand the way that the fey work their magic, they don't seem to understand that there might be a reason for the seven year restriction that Conmael has given her.  If Blackthorn went back for her revenge at this stage in her new chance at life, she'd probably just end up back in prison again.

Anyway, the only reason I even gave this book a higher rating anyway was because of the last half of the book.  It certainly did end up drawing me in all the way, and if only we could have stuck with Blackthorn's and Grim's POVs, I think I would have enjoyed the book in it's entirety a lot more.  I sincerely was more interested in their journey, and instead found Prince Oran kind of frustrating to follow.

I also found our "villian" more overpowered than was believable.  Lady Flidais's behavior was never acceptable nor was it normal, so I'm surprised that no one ever called her out on it, save for Oran in private.

Of course, without Oran's POV, there probably wouldn't be a whole lot of story.  Maybe if this book were written in third person, things might have been a bit different?

Nonetheless, the end of the book left me wanting more, and so I will definitely be jumping into the next book when I get the chance.

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/10/quick-thoughts-dreamers-pool.html
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